GOMI Vision – 2016

John Terry  January 20, 2016

Hello all,

As we have now entered 2016, I thought I would write and bring you up to date on GOMI’s “Learning to Steward the Gulf” (L2SG) activities since our spring meeting in Toronto with TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation.   While initial activities have occurred mainly in the New England area, preliminary recruitment efforts have also been underway in the Canadian Maritimes.

First a word or two on New England: with support from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the New England Biolabs Foundation, we began our new L2SG teacher initiative this summer with the recruitment of 13 teachers from the New England area, including Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Recruits include elementary, middle and high school teachers, along with one community college professor.   While they represent all disciplines, most are science teachers and all are highly motivated and enthusiastic.  Hal and I are delighted in their diversity and very encouraged by their enthusiasm.  As of this writing, we have had three half-day training sessions and one overnight field trip to Cape Cod where teachers participated, along with some students, in a sea turtle rescue program being conducted by Massachusetts Audubon and the New England Aquarium (some pics included).

 Shortly upon funding, formal recruiting activities will begin in the Maritimes.  We already have a plan in place and will be working closely Dr. Anna Redden, Director of Acadia University’s Estuarine Research Centre (AUERC) and Acadia Tidal Energy Institute (ATEI).   Meghan Swanburg, an ATEI Environmental Project Engineer, presented tidal energy teaching materials to Nova Scotia teachers at the Annual Association of Science Teachers Conference in Halifax on October 23rd, 2015. The teachers present represented three Nova Scotia School districts, two of whose regions follow the coast of the Bay of Fundy.  Meghan provided a brief backdrop to GOMI’s earlier involvement in the Maritimes and then introduced the new L2SG teacher initiative.  Meghan explained L2SG in detail and encouraged teachers to either consider taking part in the program or pass on the information to those who may be interested. The Director of Programs for the Tri-County Regional School Board was also in attendance and showed strong interest in the teacher initiative.  The Tri-County Board embraces the southwest region of Nova Scotia, surrounding Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne.  GOMI has a positive and long-standing relationship with the Regional School Board through the Summer Institute. Information, including a brochure on L2SG, was distributed, contact details gathered, and a follow-up email sent post conference with further information and links to the GOMI website.

 Our active follow-up late winter/ in early spring will include school visits and personal interviews. The goal will be to recruit a comparable group of Maritime teachers into the L2SG professional development project. Similar to that being done with the New England teachers, Maritimes teachers will begin with a spring information/planning workshop followed in the summer by a 3-day summer workshop. The plan is to bring the US and Canadian groups together in a combined teacher conference/workshop, which will be the forerunner of an annual conference on the Gulf and climate change.  Aspects of this conference will be open to interested others.

Our drifter project has just broken a record.  Our Middlesex Community College team’s constructed drifter is the first student-built drifter to ever make it as far east as the Azores, a total of 7,236 kilometers since it was first launched off Gloucester in early June. What is really amazing is that it reported data the morning of January 17 after having survived Hurricane Alex, the first January hurricane in the North Atlantic in over 50 years! You may follow this drifter on the googlemap.

Cordially, John

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Digby-Islands Report

As usual, the Digby-Islands team has been busy and productive. Here is latest report of their activities.

summer fall 2015 PDF again_web


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Time to support GOMI with your gift.

As you are a person with an interest in our mission, we are asking for your financial support to further the meeting of our mission. The Gulf of Maine Watershed is among the richest bioregions in the world. It is a complex and diverse human and natural ecosystem covering much of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, all of Maine, and much of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is our eco-home: integral to the economy, health, and recreational life of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.  It is home also to multitudes of animal and plant species and it is also warming faster than any other comparable body of water on Earth.  The effects of climate change on the bioregion’s ecology and economy over the last decade are troublesome and the future more so. 

At GOMI we understand to meet and manage the challenges we need to involve future leaders now!  And we need your help!

The Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI), an award winning 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to doing exactly that by:

•Educating youth in experiential, community rooted, science in and out of school.

•Emphasizing civic engagement, the need to do something concrete and beneficial to improve, understand, remedy or protect.

•Exploring the unique history, ecology, culture, and economy of the place wherein you live.

•Elaborating on the connection of the local to the bioregional to the global.  

GOMI’s Board of Directors spent last year investigating how to best respond to the growing regional challenges of climate change. The Board identified as compelling the need to: Work with school districts and teachers to educate youth to manage and mitigate the regional effects of climate change.  

The Board resolved to shift our annual Summer Workshop emphasis from a youth-centered one to a teacher professional development one. This shift significantly enhances GOMI’s capacities to prepare and engage more educators and students to meet the new growing realities of climate change.  It requires GOMI to:

•Redesign programs and workshops to directly aid teachers in the development of appropriate curricula and methods.

•Provide teachers and school districts with strong related professional development opportunities including locally based citizen science.

•Engage students as cohorts in the development of the above programs and workshops.

These changes, to reiterate, will result in a watershed outreach to students and teachers significantly greater than our previous model.  Student workshop participants, while fewer in number, will play a key role in the development of appropriate curricula modules.   And, as programs and workshops will be community-based, emphasis on hands-on science and civic engagement will not be compromised.

We have begun implementation of the BOD’s charge.  Currently, we are developing programs and workshops with 15 teachers located in 6 school districts, including Newburyport, Salem, Beverly and Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts; Bethlehem, New Hampshire; and Kennebunk, Maine.  We are working closely with colleagues and partners at Acadia University’s Tidal Institute in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia, to recruit Canadian teachers and districts.  We expect a Maritimes contingent to be joining our ranks as early as this spring.

GOMI, now in its sixteenth year, is not new to this work and our leadership is well recognized. Seven GOMI team leaders, including our Science Director, John Halloran, and John Terry, have received Visionary Awards from Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment; and just last year the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded GOMI an Environmental Merit Award in recognition of our exceptional accomplishments.  In 2006, John Terry was named a Civic Ventures Leader with Experience Purpose Prize Fellow (www.civicventures.org), for his GOMI work.  Our GoMW efforts have received continuous support from TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Toward Sustainability Foundation, and the New England Biolabs Foundation; and we most recently received a grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help support the teacher professional development effort.

Our awards, while welcome and important, cannot sustain GOMI; and our grants, while critical to our efforts, will not cover the costs of the tasks ahead.  To meet these challenges we need additional support from friends like you. Please give what you can. No amount is too small.

If paying by mail, please make checks payable to the Gulf of Maine Institute and post to GOMI Treasurer, 3 Black Alder Drive, Kingston NH 03848.  

Alternatively, if you wish to use a charge card,  hit the Donate button on this page and follow the simple instructions. We will send a thank you and receipt for your tax records.

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Middlesex Community College drifter – end of journey

Drifting Along Digby Neck Shores
Anna-Marie MacKenzie Kelly, Digby Neck/Islands GOMI Youth Leader

IMG_2002Another Ocean Drifter has landed on the shores of Digby Neck. Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) Youth at Middlesex Community College deployed this Ocean Drifter into the Gulf of Maine from Newburyport, Massachusetts on June 3, 2015. It traveled close to 5000 kilometres jogging back and forth with the tides as it slowly made its way up the Bay of Fundy. The high winds and rough seas leading into Thanksgiving weekend brought the Drifter ashore on Digby Neck just below Gulliver’s Cove. To see its track, the link to the drifter is at Http://Nefsc.NOAA.gov/drifter/drift_gomi_2015_1.html

On the morning of October 12, Kevin Baker, of Gulliver’s Cove, was out in his boat searching for buoys along the shore. He stopped to collect a buoy and saw this small white buoy sporting a black hat. Luckily for the Drifter Program, Kevin was curious enough to check it out. He discovered the tiny black box (transmitter) had a name and phone number. He hurried home and insisted his wife, Cindy, call James Manning’s number immediately.

James Manning works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and coordinates the Drifter Program in the Gulf of Maine. Drifters are built with sails below the water surface with the transmitters sitting just above the surface. A variety of Drifters help scientists, fishermen and students monitor currents, sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind and salinity (For more information about the program, check www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/currentdrifter.html).

This is the second drifter to be found on Digby Neck shores. The first, just a year ago, was recovered close to Trout Cove in Centreville. Another came ashore a year earlier above Granville.

This past summer, GOMI Youth attending the International GOMI Conference at Acadia University, with the help of local fishermen, deployed two Drifters off Brier Island. One is still transmitting and appears to have gone ashore (Oct. 17) on Heron Island near Owl’s Head, Maine.To see the route this Drifter followed, go to www.gulfofmaineinstitute.com.

Thanks to Kevin Baker finding and returning the transmitter, it is on its way back to NOAA so more students will have the opportunity to build, deploy and monitor an Ocean Drifter.

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Middlesex Community College drifters take off …

The Middlesex drifters have been having great trips. Look at these amazing and varied paths. The latest is being sought on the shores of Nova Scotia again.


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More drifters on their way

Here is where you can track the drifters!:


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GOMI drifter report

Just in case you have not been following the drifters we set loose in early July at the GOMI summer workshop this will give you an image of their travel. It is quite an amazing turn around. Earlier ones had continued up the coast of Nova Scotia. To keep up with progress see:



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Drifter tracking

We launched two new drifters in the Bay of Fundy at the GOMI conference at the beginning of July. If you want to see where they are visit:


You will see an update of this map.


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Digby/Islands publishes news

This spring has been exceptionally active for a lot of projects we are working on. The minute one thing ends it seems like they are replaced by another. We continue to focus on partnering with others to get the most efficient use of our Association’s time and resources.

Our focus for the next week is on the Gulf of Maine Institute International Conference for our youth teams at Acadia University in Wolfville and also getting some funds for major signage of the Digby Neck and Islands Eco-tour Map. The upcoming summer edition will have some exciting news to report that will be very positive on a number of achievements. In the meantime enjoy your summer and all that nature has to offer!

To see details of the Spring click on:  spring 2015 issue PDF 3_web

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Middlesex team news

Middlesex Community College Gulf of Maine Institute Team’s Spring 2015 Activities

In March 2015, the Middlesex Community College GOMI team hosted the U.S. mini-conference. It partnered with Mill City Grows in Lowell to sponsor a daylong event called the Urban Growers Gathering, and students helped run the overall event as well as workshops within it.

The guest speaker, Maraleen Manos-Jones, spoke to the GOMI group individually on Friday night and to the Urban Growers Gathering audience on Saturday, explaining about her life’s dedication to the monarch butterfly. Her stories of being one of the first people to ever find where monarch migrated to in Mexico fascinated everyone.

Later in the spring, the Middlesex GOMI team coordinated students from the college to do a Merrimack River Cleanup, working together with the organization Clean River Action. The group also met multiple times to construct two ocean drifters, set to be launched in Newburyport together with Newburyport’s middle school and charter schools’ drifters!

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